Jeff Brandes’ Florida Policy Project points to housing vouchers to help address Florida’s affordable housing crisis
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Affordable Housing Crisis
'Housing vouchers provide an opportunity to increase access to suitable housing in the private sector while also empowering these households with control over their choice.'

The Florida Policy Project (FPP) has published a study in collaboration with the DeVoe L. Moore Center at Florida State University elevating the use of vouchers to address the state’s affordable housing crisis.

The nonpartisan research-focused organization — launched by former Sen. Jeff Brandes with former Senate President Bill Galvano heading the board of directors — aims to educate both the public and Florida lawmakers on its ideas, based on data-driven research.

It’s latest report includes five best practices to address the issue of housing affordability and the use of vouchers to make housing more attainable, including:

— Transparent voucher selection process.

— Centralize, continuously monitor and update voucher waiting lists.

— Small Area Fair Market Rents (the tool used for Section 8 vouchers to determine maximum rent).

— Match clients and landlords more efficiently.

— Tenant video inspections.

“Housing vouchers provide an opportunity to increase access to suitable housing in the private sector while also empowering these households with control over their choice,” said Samuel R. Staley, Director of the DeVoe L. Moore Center in the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy at Florida State University.

Housing vouchers allow low-income households to have flexibility to choose where to live, and provides landlords with the security of knowing they’ll receive rent payments on time.

Brandes plans to highlight this and other possible solutions at an upcoming housing summit.

“Florida’s housing affordability crisis requires a variety of solutions. This May 1 in Tampa, we will deep dive into best practices at the Florida Housing Summit: Blueprint for Better Outcomes where we will shine a light on the innovative solutions needed for positive change including vouchers, zoning, permitting, and accessory dwelling units which are all required for Floridians to have access to homes,” Brandes said.

The summit, presented by the Tampa Bay Builders Association at USF St. Petersburg, will promote goal-oriented policy discussions while also providing a networking opportunity among professionals in the housing industry and related areas to help pave the way for innovative new ideas to address housing affordability.

Other topics on the table include zoning changes, incentives for cities and counties, accessory dwelling units, upzoning and more.

The Florida Policy Project has released several reports since its inception last year, including on veteran’s incarceration and reentry; addressing the elderly prison population; criminal justice reform and re-entry; university research partnerships; measured impact of state-funded programs; and more.

A previous Florida Policy Project focusing on five best practices broadly on housing affordability found that the median price of a home in Florida was less than $300,000 in 2015, but skyrocketed to $450,000 by 2022, while household income dropped from nearly $67,000 annually in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic to less than $60,000 in 2021.

Things have only gotten worse in terms of housing prices since then. That report points to increases in housing demand since the pandemic as more and more people move to Florida for its low-tax structure and desirable, mild weather.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].


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